Pussy Riot took the time out of their schedule to write a political attack on the Republican nominee of the century with their video for “Make America Great Again.” Depicting a post apocalyptic universe if Trump were to win the election with thugs employed to enforce his dystopic vision.
It's unsurprising that Pussy Riot would write on the man who publicly praises Vladimir Putin, a man the group argues is a dictator.
Pussy Riot is a feminist guerrilla group who's main goals are politically motivated. Their a group of women with an ever shifting line up. They've been arrested and imprisoned, protesting for women and LGBT groups in a Russian era of increasing human rights violation. The music they make relies heavily on visual aid and lyrical content, the backing music is only secondary.
Make America Great Again?
Their video for “Make America Great Again” came just weeks before the historic election this Tuesday and was just one of many lazor focused deconstructions of one of the worst political American pundits to hit the American grand stage.
Blood. Cursing. Testosterone.
Until recently I haven't had a lot of experience with Quentin Tarantino films. I knew the name, but I am an innocent wall flower. Of course I saw Django Unchained, because everyone was talking about it. A little bloody at the end, Dicaprio was robbed, what more do you need to know.
As of now there are two Kill Bill movies. Spoiler, Uma Thurman does kill Bill. Who I might add is me. I am Bill. He shoots her in the head and tries to kill her, because he's upset with her for leaving him. And, when she finally meets him at the end he says that he “might have over reacted.”
The Hard Boiled Detective
We read three books that fall under the category of “hard boiled”. What I've noticed and learned is that true, gritty hard boiled novels are really gross. And, I don't mean blood and gore. Although, they certainly can be. There's this kind of pornography of violence with these novels.
Hard Boiled novels like to play with this concept of the “other”. The main detective is a strong willed, white, heterosexual male, loner. They don't like women, gays, foreigners, blacks, anyone that could be classified as a minority. It's actually so gross. These stories are fun. They're well paced and melodramatic, but they like to work at the expense of groups who are persecuted.
This book had distinct sexism. I wrote an entire paper on it. Sam Spade, the lead character, slept with every speaking female character except for one. And, he probably would have fucked her if she wasn't sixteen.
The only book we read that I was actually impressed with, I would be hard pressed to label as clearly Hard Boiled. Ross Macdonald wrote The Underground Man and the detective actually thought (a rarity) It was great to have this well thought, extremely well conceived plot that didn't rely solely on oppressing people. It's hard to even categorize it as “hard boiled”, because it doesn't insist on following some of it's most recognizable cornerstones.
What I've learned most about Hard Boiled novels is their appeal. They subscribe to this idea of what a male fantasy is and they do a great job at it. I just don't know how impressed I am with that.
The Cover Of A Playboy Magazine
I did some research for you. Founded in 1953 by the still CEO, Hugh Hefner, Playboy was America's premier trashy magazine. With enough of a glamourized past to inspire the short lived retro throwback The Playboy Club. Not even the gorgeous Amber Heard and Eddie Cibrian could save it
The fate of the centerfold is still in question. Reasons for the change have been noted as a decreased circulation. Currently, the magazine has a subscription of 700,000 compared to it's 70's 5.6 million. Hugh Hefner cited the easy access of pornographic images in any possible combination as the reason for the change. There will still be scantily clad women.
Playboy has done some things to garner the argument that men “read it for the articles”. Stephen King got his start publishing short stories in Playboy. They've also included works by notable writers such as Ian Fleming and Margaret Atwood. Famed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is included on their list of contributors. I wrote an article on him entitled “Translation Please” (read here).
Even, Shel Silverstein has some of his cartoon renderings included in the pages of a Playboy magazine. Apparently, Playboy was a showcase for cartoonists.
He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)
Singer Little Eva is claimed to be the inspiration for the Crystal's song “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)”. She was regularly being beaten by her boyfriend and when asked why she put up with it, she said something to the effect of “He does it because he loves me.” Now, the only reason I know this song is because my great aunt enjoy the Crystals, and as a child she would pull out the record machine and slip it on.
This is something The Color Purple author Alice Walker, directly addresses with Celie's character who is not only verbally and sexually abused by her father, but follows her into adulthood where her husband takes a much more physical toll on her body.
"I have had, basically, my face bashed in, and I never did anything about it.” - Tina Turner
Her mother had just passed and many have said that she waited until after her mother died to publish a tell all so she could not only get part of her mother's estate, but cash in on her mother's passing. Who knows what's true. Their relationship was most certainly not perfect no matter what it was. You don't write a tell all ruining the reputation of the mother who love you unconditionally. There is truth built into Christian Crawford's retelling. Also, if you haven't seen the movie Mommie Dearest, you need to. It's a cult classic for a reason and it's terribly bad (Although, Faye Dunaway does a terrific job as Joan Crawford).
It tells the real life story of a woman who has been abused for so long by her husband that she ends up setting the bed they share on fire. Farrah Fawcett does a terrific job and its one of the most heartfelt performances I've ever seen her give. A must watch, It's not on netflix, but if you see it in the stores pick it up. It's well worth the price of admission.
Now, this is a guilty pleasure. If you've never seen Julia Roberts Sleeping With the Enemy, you need to. This movie is at it's core a psychological thriller with a candy coated plot. Not nearly as deep as The Burning Bed, the lengths to which Julia Robert's is willing to go to end her abusive relationship is astounding. This is one of my favorite movies and it's not hard to connect with her abject fear.
Many songwriters have dealt head on with abuse over the years, not just the Crystals. Many of them you may know: Martina McBride's “Concrete Angels”, Kelly Rowland's “Dirty Laundry” (You may not have actually heard this song, but you know of it. This is the one where everyone said she was jealous of Beyonce. But, who isn't?), and of course “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. I still can't believe Britney tackled a tough issue at such a young age.
Hard rocker Alice Cooper wrote the song “Only Women Bleed” (Which is not about menstruation as some people suggest), but instead that only women are affected in times of domestic abuse. The great Tina Turner even covered it in 1999 for a greatest hits of Ike and Tina Turner of all things.
RuPaul, Madonna, and Pat Benatar all deal with child abuse with “Never Go Home Again”, “Oh Father”, and “Hell is for Children”. “Never Go Home Again” is certainly more directed towards a gay audience. Yes, Frankie shouldn't have to wear makeup in order to hide the scars, but a lot of it deals with the emotional side of abuse of not being able to be who you want to be. While, Madonna deals with her personal childhood in a stunning ballad that implies that her father was not only verbally abusive, but physically abusive, but that “He didn't want to hurt me. He didn't want to live this way.” Then, you have Pat Benatar with cold precision sets down the facts of child abusive in a sometimes graphic manner. Although, not a major hit, any Pat Benatar fan is likely to recognize it as one of the standouts from her album Crimes of Passion. One of the few hard 80's rock songs that songs just as hard twenty years later as it did when it was written.
Buy "Concrete Angel"
Buy "Dirty Laundry"
Buy "Oh Father"
And Then There Was Bubbles
In case your unaware, the title of today's article is a play on words of Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None. Puns are always shitty if your not the one who said it. I am always slick judging people when they use a pun, and when I use one they ask me why I'm so judgmental. I tell them I judge myself just as hard.
There came a point in my writing for this blog that I realized, I never really talked about books. I talk about music, movies, the celebrities. You would have no idea that reading is my everything. During the summer I will go through a book a day. If I'm taking an English class, the most outside reading I do is the magazines. Vogue, Architectural Digest, Cosmopolitan on occasion, and any of the weekly rags if they have anything salacious.
By this point she had married her first husband, Archibald Christie. I believe they'd even had a child, and he convinced her to write as a second source of income. Almost like a hobby. Now Archibald was an aviator, and he served in the war. Agatha was a nurse. That's where she learned about all these poisons and there side effects.
My favorite thing she did was after she found out that he cheated on her. She was going through a very rough time in her life. Her mother had just passed away and for all intensive purposes she had a break. She disappeared. She left her car by a lake. And, she went up to this spa. Until the police finally found her. This was national news. There was a manhunt, the world thought that Archibald had killed his wife. The lake was dredged, this was everything.
When they finally found her, if I remember correctly she was booked under the name of his mistress, Nancy Neele. I can just see them finding her asking her where she'd been, and her calmly telling them she'd forgotten to mention she was leaving. Even before she disappeared she made the reservations at this spa. I might be wrong, this was a little bit ago, when I did this report, but the whole situation made me pro-Agatha.
She divorced him after this. Eventually married and fell in love with her second husband Max Mallowan. He was an archeologist. So, she did a lot of traveling in the Middle East. Something you might have noticed in the long list of books set in the region (Death on the Nile, Murder in Mesopotamia, They Came to Baghdad, and Death Comes as the End).
What's funny is that she took this photography classes in London and when she was with Max on digs. They needed to photograph what they found. And, she did all of these artistic poses, with shadows and light, and he told her. You need to redo every single one of these. We have to be able to identify what your taking a picture of. She never did do any more of the photography.
Fun fact about Murder on the Orient Express is that it's loosely based off an actual event. There was a train (Agatha may have been on it, I think she was) that got stuck in the snow, just like the Orient Express. And she decided this is the perfect setting for a murder. You definitely should read it. My favorite Agatha Christie book is Death on the Nile, but Murder on the Orient Express is everything.
The two detectives you should know about are Hercule Poirot and Jane Marples. Hercule is everywhere. David Suchet had a long running gig as the detective on PBS. If it's on Netflix, watch it. The show is perfect, I love it so much. Near the end of the series it did become a lot more darker and artsy, but I like all TV. So, I was still here for it.
Miss Marples, though. This woman is near and dear to my heart. I love her she is essentially a dear friend. Geraldine McEwan did a wonderful job portraying her. Geraldine McEwan is just one of the sweetest old ladies around and she lives and embodies the spirit of Miss Marples I hate to admit that I like Miss Marples better then Hercule Poirot, but I do.
I feel less guilty, because I know Agatha did not really care for Hercule Poirot. She created him to be the antithesis to Sherlock Holmes. And, whenever her publisher felt that she was down or depressed, they urged her to write a novel for Miss Marples. Of course how much she really hate Hercule is in question. Because, she did not like her play the Mousetrap and yet she carried around this little fake block of cheese a fan sent her for good luck. I feel, like Hercule was near and dear to heart, he just irritated her and she didn't want to deal with him.
Do not be confused and think that she was not a celebrity. She was. When she was on site with her husband, they always had people come out and visit her. She never let on to her husband that they were really there for her. Agatha knew how to play a man, so she didn't offend him.
I just think she's great. Don't forget that she was born in the 1890's. She still had a coming out season in Egypt of all places. So, when people really started being like equal rights for women. She was just so confused. She did not understand why women wanted the right to fight in the military. As an older woman, she probably felt the place for women was on the sidelines. She said she just didn't understand why after hundreds of your, women were finally getting men where they wanted them, all of sudden women wanted to start doing men's work.
Her mystery's are the cornerstone of how to write a noir type novel. Her works are short, clipped, and fast paced. There's a reason she's the third best selling author in the world only behind Shakespeare and the Bibles' numerous contributors. With her work you have a large, wide ranging, appeal to many types of people. I'm utterly impressed and obsessed with her. And, if you ever have free time or on break try one of her books out. It might not be for you, but almost certainly it will be.
Greta Garbo, and Monroe